All Of The Major U.S. Airlines Report Strong 2nd-Quarter Earnings

For the first time in years, all of the major U.S. airlines are doing well. American Airlines Group said its second-quarter profits were the highest in the company's history. American only recently exited bankruptcy protection, so the results represent an impressive turnaround.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Airlines in the United States are making money again. American, United and Southwest all reported record-setting second quarter results yesterday. Delta reported strong earnings earlier in the week. As NPR's John Ydstie reports, several factors have contributed to strong profits.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: You may remember that just eight months ago, American Airlines was in bankruptcy. Now it's reporting record profits and has decided to pay a dividend to shareholders for the first time in 34 years. In fact, American's bankruptcy helped build those profits by giving it the opportunity to squeeze cost from employees and suppliers. Other carriers have reduced costs in the same way. They've also benefitted from stable fuel prices. Meanwhile, merges between the biggest U.S. airlines - United with Continental, Delta with Northwest and American with U.S. Airways have reduced competition. That's allowed carriers to keep ticket prices high and charge fees for things like bags and meals. If you've flown recently, you already know that. And you know there's not much elbow room. In fact, Southwest set a record for the number of full flights in the second quarter. After he reported the strong results yesterday, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told reporters demand is very strong and it is balanced nicely with the supply of seats. That may make airline investors very happy. But it suggests passengers aren't likely to get relief from high ticket prices, fees, and full planes anytime soon. John Ydstie, NPR News, Washington.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.